CLOSED: Rootmaster

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 12 reviews )



Elys Yard, Old Truman Brewery, London, UK (at parking lot off Dray Walk, Brick Lane, short walk from Aldgate East station), East London, England, E1 6QL

Serves organic vegan food inside one of London's double-decker Routemaster bus. Has a kitchen on the main level, candle-lit seating upstairs, and a cafe outside. Food is international and might include such as veggie dumplings, marinated tofu, and curried vegetables. Open daily 11am-10pm. Direction: Liverpool Street station (for Central, Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan and District Underground Lines and mainline trains) is a 5 minutes walk. NOTE: Reported closed to HappyCow.

Categories: Vegan, International, Organic, Pan-Asian

12 Reviews

First Review by The Veggie Cook

Not worth the hype and rude service - Edit

My husband and I were on a bike tour that stopped in this complex and being vegan we were thrilled when the guide pointed out this place to us for our 25 min break. (I know it was short!)

We went to get a table and were asked if we wanted to sit upstairs, so we walked upstairs and checked it out and sat down at a table and the waiter behind us said very rudely "This table is reserved" I asked about the other tables and apparently they're all reserved... The only place to sit upstairs is the teeny tiny ledge that faces out the bus window and we'd have to sit side by side and squeeze in... So we declined and wondered why they even suggested taking us upstairs. So we went back down and sat outside. The waiter then dropped the menus on the table and bolted.

We ordered and told our waiter we were on a tour and in a hurry and he didn't put our order in right away, he spent a while talking to a group of 4 French people and explaining everything in French from the English menu. There isn't very far to walk to put in an order so I was really surprised it was fine to spend lots of time with them but zero time answering our questions about the menu and no consideration that we mentioned we had a tour group to get back to.

My husband is French Canadian and speaks French so I don't even understand why the rude behavior to us.

I think everyone is from France here because there was nothing but disdain dripping from every one of them when dealing with customers (and their accents), no smiles, no staying a second to explain anything and they even have the audacity to put "tipping is sexy" on their menus and your bill!

Excuse me but we've all been to a restaurant before and know how to tip, but being rude and then expecting a tip is just off putting.

Happy to say we will never have the unpleasant experience of eating here again...

P.S. They are a bus and have no bathrooms.

Pros: vegan friendly, presentation

Cons: rude staff, no bathroom available, small French portions

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lovely unique place with delicious food - Edit

Rootmaster is one of my favorite vegan restaurants in London. It is hands down one of the most unique venues you will ever eat in and quintessentially London. I have been there ate least 6 or 7 times and always loved what I have eaten. The service is usually very good but it's even better when the manager is there. She really keeps the place running well. I think they are still getting used to having the outdoor seating and cooking for twice as many people as they were able to seat just upstairs so sometimes the service can be slow when the place is packed. One of the best things about this place is that they don't even have to advertise that they are vegan because the food is so rich and delicious compared to a lot of other vegan cuisine. The chocolate fondant is especially not to be missed. They may have a small menu but that's because they do everything so well. My only complaints about this place are 1)slow service when the place is full 2) there are no real side dishes that come with lunch and thus the presentation isn't as good and the meal isn't as complete as it could be and 3) they store the red wine with the white so it is served cold (blech). These small criticisms nothwithstanding, I think everyone should visit this place (while being aware that google maps does a poor job of representing its location).

Pros: delicious food, amazing ambiance, helpful service and great manager

Cons: sometimes slow, no side with lunch, cold red wine

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fantastic - Edit

Have been disappointed to read some of the reviews of this place. I've been here about a dozen times over the past 18months I've been living in London (most recently in Feb 2010) and have always experienced great food, wine and service. The menu changes seasonally and I've found the dinner menu to be much better than the lunch. I've never had a problem asking for diabetic and allergy friendly options and both picky omnivores and fussy vegans have been impressed. Only problem has been booking for bigger groups, often they will be booked out in advance and it is a small venue (being on a bus!) so it can be quite crowded sometimes.

Pros: excellent food

Cons: small venue

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A unique vegan dining experience in London - Edit

My boyfriend and I visited Rootmaster on Thursday 4th February 2010. During the day, I visited the website to see if I needed to book a table - as there all tables appeared available, I didn't bother booking. We turned up at about 8:30pm and there was only one table available inside. The waiter recommended that we book a table next time.

In terms of location, we followed a Google map but got a little confused when we reached Truman Pub (FYI, if you're facing Truman pub, go up the road to its left and turn immediately left. Rootmaster is in the car park on the LHS).

The Rootmaster was lit up as if it was christmas. The downstairs is for the kitchen and there are several seats upstairs with more outside. There isn't a toilet (you would need to go to an adjacent public house!).

The service was very pleasant. We weren't rushed and the waiter even took our coats as we were tight on space. We found the temperature of upstairs very hot as it collects some of the heat from the kitchen downstairs.

The menu was all vegan with a variety of starter, main, desserts and alcohol on offer (stir fry, lentil dishes, pizza, chocolate cake). We found the dishes flavoursome (although mine was a tad cold). We felt the prices of the dishes reflected London prices and the dining venue!

Aside from the all-vegan menu, the main benefit of Rootmaster is its dining environment. From the dining table, you can watch the surprise and excitement of people passing by and taking photos!

Rootmaster's menu and booking are available on its website.

Pros: Vegan, Bustaurant, Friendly staff

Cons: Small space (it is a Routemaster!!), No toilet, Hot temperature

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kind of average - Edit

my boyfriend had the sunny burger - it was okay, but that's all. my sallad looked small and wasn't imaginative, but was filling for the moment. however i was hungry again after an hour or two.

Pros: all vegan, liked the concept, rough trade record shop close by

Cons: hard to find!, food not that interesting

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lied to on phone, lost couldn't find, forced away. - Edit

What a horrible experience. We followed the google maps and it puts you about a half a mile away from the place. We kept calling and no one answered. We asked everyone in the area and finally they called us and told us where to go. We were relieved to find it, but when we got their they said we were too late and if we wanted to eat we had to eat fast... no problem we ordered beers and took one look at the menu and said, pizza with out any oil just fresh veggies and asked what ever else they could do. He came back up w/o our beers saying sorry we can't do anything w/o oil. I said, well I called and asked if you could before I treked out here and the guy said yes, he said oh well he doesn't speak English as a first language... I said I've been traveling for 4 months in countries full of people and have never had a problem. He then proceeded to tell me that being vegan was against his religion. At that point we realized this place was horrible and our night was ruined and we sulked away... Don't bother or just make a reservation take pics and then leave w/o giving them $.

Pros: cute

Cons: premade food, oily, non vegan jerk staff

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Good concept, bad food - Edit

Me and a friend (both vegan) visisted RootMaster just before 12pm (when it opens) on Sunday 19th April. The place was clean, well laid out. We were taken by the concept, and ready for a good meal.

Although the staff were polite, you pretty much didn't get a choice where to sit. We heard them say to everyone who came in to move to smaller tables to leave tables for bigger groups for when it gets busy.

The menu was quite small. I went for the Rootmaster burger and my friend chose the roasted vegetable wraps. The burger was the worst I've had in a while. It was really cold and utterly tasteless (just potato I could taste). It was accompanied by about 5 potato wedges and 3 leaves of salad. My friend thought his wrap was distinctly average.

The burger was £6.50, the wrap £6.

Disapointing overall, nice concept though.

Pros: Great concept, Polite staff

Cons: Terrible food

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on top of the bus, eating vegan - class - Edit

I was completely taken in by this concept. The food cooked downstairs on the bus, yo ueat upstairs. All the food was vegan, all great and such a good atmosphere. Well worth visiting. TRY IT!

Pros: atmosphere, great food, great staff

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  Contributions +155

Top Vegan food - Edit

As a group of 4 vegans we went there to try out this new vegan venture. The idea of an old routemaster bus as the venue made it more interesting. Upstairs is the dining area while downstairs is the kitchen and its staff.

The menu was all vegan and there was a good selection of starters, mains and deserts. We had various starter between us which were all very tasty and good our appetites ready for the mains. After deliberating over the menu again we all opted for the tofu towers which looked the best option on the menu. The towers were good and cooked with a nice balance of flavours and went down very well.

We did not have deserts but will be going back again to this vegan experience and would advise both meat eatrs and veggies to try this place as it is well worth a visit.

Pros: All Vegan, On a bus, different

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Top Deck! - Edit

Being vegans, my husband and I had wanted to try out this East London eaterie for a while but only managed it last night (Sun 13th April).
As soon as we arrived we had a really friendly welcome from the chef and waiter/waitress from the lower deck. On venturing up to the Top Deck we found a really sweet, romantic space with candles flickering and simple but stylish interior design. We had a great table for two at the front of the bus and started with the Bruchetta and Gyoza (after a pre-starter of plump queen olives and sundried tomatoes) The bruchetta were amazingly deep flavoured, with slow cooked cavalo nero (black cabbage) and tomoatoes on really crisp garlicy bread. Gyosa's were full flavoured -very good mushroom flavour and came with a sweet yet spicy dipping sauce
The presentation was superb with great attention to detail.
Husband had a blonde beer from Sussex (I think) and loved its deep hoppy flavour. I tried an Organic white which was dry and crisp.
Mains were very exciting with The Tofu Tower being a work of art on the plate! A tower of many layers of Crisp Wontons and Seared Tofu was served with an artfully spiced coconut curry and served with a further tower of perfectly cooked brown rice.
My Teriyaki Stirfry was the right side of spicy with oodles of crunchy cashew nuts and perfectly al dente vegetables.
It would have been churlish to come all this way and not have dessert so....
Tempura Bananas with Maple Syrup and Chocolate icecream was near perfect and the Chocolate cake with Chocolate icecream was good but a little on the dry side (but as I make vegan cakes in my spare time I am a little biased!).
I loved this amazing bus and with it's really happy staff and fabulous food, hope to make it one of our regular haunts.

Pros: inventive cooking , vegan, super-friendly staff

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Unique experience - Edit

We took the (anti-vegan) parents to Rootmaster last night and even they were wowed by the food, wine and use of an old red Routemaster bus (good recycling!).
Completely vegan (including extensive wine list), great choice of contrasting dishes - one of those times when everyone tries to order something different so that you can taste each others'!
Passers-by kept coming in just to look at the double decker bus setting - this gimmick must attract lots of non-veggies (which is a very good thing), and I think the food etc will keep them coming back.
We too will be returning, very soon.

Pros: Excellent food & drinks, Entertaining & well-timed service, Unique dbl decker bus setting

Cons: Each time someone comes up the stairs, the bus rocks, but you get used to it, pretty quickly.

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One of a Kind - Edit

The set up of this restaurant is truly unique and very interesting. It's housed in a red Routemaster bus on the Brewery block in the east end of London. The inside is narrow and long, and it serves up decent vegan food.

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